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Worrisome Number

Thu, 03/21/2024 - 09:24


We already know that Springs-Fireplace Road has become an eyesore and is heavily traveled by large vehicles, but a recent town-sponsored study of the streets surrounding it contained an eye-popping number that we had not really thought about before: About 275 acres of land on 182 parcels are undeveloped. Most are less than two acres. This figure represents a huge possible increase in residential and commercial use — something that this already overburdened part of East Hampton Town does not need. If the two largest lots alone in a commercial-industrial zone that includes the present sand mine were converted, they could add about 1.75 million square feet of development. And that is not counting all the residential building that could also take place, in many cases on substandard lots.     

Growth beyond the current infrastructure's capacity has left many residents frustrated. A massive work force coming and going daily makes east-west driving an exasperating, time-wasting experience, spilling East Hampton's own apparent inability to more forcefully restrict development into Sagaponack Village and the rest of Southampton Town. Many residents believe that the Springs-Fireplace area has become a dumping ground for business and municipal operations not welcome elsewhere. But we believe that there is a path to slow things down.     

When the Peconic Bay Region Community Preservation Fund was conceived in the 1990s, it was envisioned in part as a way to reduce the ultimate density of houses and businesses. It may be time to revisit that important goal, especially along Springs-Fireplace Road.

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